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Stowmarket: Solutions for over-subscribed school, Cedars Park, to be found at meeting, hopes councillor

PUBLISHED: 06:00 16 August 2014

Cedars Park Community Primary School in Stowmarket

Cedars Park Community Primary School in Stowmarket

Officials are to find solutions to help a school that has failed to receive a disputed sum of almost £2million.

That is the hope of county councillor Gary Green, who has brokered a meeting between Mid Suffolk District Council and Suffolk County Council over Cedars Park Primary in Stowmarket.

County officials argue the school should have received £1.8million of investment from developers’ fees.

However the district council – which controls the purse strings for such sums of money – denies this. Mid Suffolk officers claim Suffolk County Council’s messages were unclear – previously they had asked for money to go to transport, they say.

The school, which lies on the growing estate of Cedars Park with some 1,900 homes, is being extended and will reach its maximum capacity of 420 pupils in September next year, having been originally built for 150 children.

The meeting will take place at Suffolk County Council on September 11.

Mr Green said: “At the end of the day I’m not interested in the blame game and who done what in the past. This has been a problem since before I have been a councillor, so it’s been there long enough for it to have been sorted; we need a meeting and solutions.

“I have got the necessary people who need to be there from both councils. If you talk to one person you get one story, if you talk to another you get a different one. I cannot be doing with that. We need to get to the bottom of it.

“There will be the same problem this September, but we don’t know if it will be 20, 30 or 40 children who will not be able to go to the school, so it needs to be looked at quickly.”

Mr Green said 24 children could not be taught at the school from last September because it was at capacity.

Dusty Miller, chairman of Cedars Park Community Interest Company, said: “I have met with the parents and they propose that one of the new classrooms is used to house the 24 children in the short-term.

“They, the parents, also propose extra classrooms are added as fast as possible using one of the remaining two areas already identified by the county council in response to the move to the two-tier (education) system.”

But a county council spokesman dismissed those proposals, saying the school was “not big enough” to take on more children.

He said: “We fully understand the proposals being made and the concerns expressed by parents. But we cannot take them forward because the school is not big enough to take more children and because of the impact these proposals would have on other students at the school.

“Cedars Park Primary School will have permanent accommodation for 420 pupils in September 2015 and neither the site, nor the building’s infrastructure, can support more children.

“We have already put the school under pressure by placing an additional 60 children in temporary accommodation over the last two years. They will be there for the next six years and the school is feeling the impact of this.”

A new Church of England school called Trinity will open for reception pupils on the current Combs Middle School site from next month. It will open fully in September 2015.

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Four senior Suffolk County Council officers being paid six-figure salaries have seen their pay rise significantly over the last year – while other staff have had their earnings pegged by the government’s 1% pay cap.

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